Chiayi offers incentives to encourage killing of invasive lizards

The southern county of Chiayi has launched a program that offers a government bounty to people willing to capture or kill exotic lizards, aimed at wiping out the invasive species in order to protect the natural ecosystem, the county government said Wednesday.

In light of the serious threat posed by invasive alien species to biodiversity and ecosystems in recent years, the county government launched the program to encourage the capture or killing of the brown anole and the green iguana, two invasive species in Taiwan, it said.

The county government will begin purchase of the captured reptiles, dead or alive, on Sept. 14 and then every Friday between Sept. 23 and Oct. 21.

The local government said it will offer NT$3 (US$0.096) for the purchase of each brown anole captured, NT$500 for each green iguana with a body length of 50cm or longer, and NT$150 for green iguanas with a body length shorter than 50cm.

The brown anole is native to Cuba and the Bahamas, and it was first observed in Chiayi in 2000. It is commonly seen on tree trunks and shrubs and threatens native lizard species by competing for limited resources.

The green iguana is native to Central and South America. The introduced species were often kept as house pets in Chiayi. However, an increasing number of the reptiles have been abandoned in recent years. They often appear along Pachang river in the county and feed on crops and vegetables, causing damage to the environment, according to the county government.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel